$2.4 billion in U.S. money and weapons have been sent to Ukraine in under two months…

Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total aid tally since Russian forces invaded to more than $2.4 billion.

The package will include artillery systems, artillery rounds and armored personnel carriers, Biden said in a statement after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

TIT FOR TAT SANCTIONS ON U.S. AND CANADIAN POLITICIANS

Russia is imposing tit-for-tat sanctions on 398 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 87 Canadian senators, Interfax news agency cited the foreign ministry as saying on Wednesday.

The ministry said the move came after Washington last month announced sanctions against 328 members of the Russian Duma, or parliament. Russia soon plans to announce more sanctions in response to U.S. punitive measures, Interfax said.

WHITEHOUSE LOOKING TO KEEP PLAYING THE SANCTION GAME

The United States has a wide variety of additional sanctions that it can impose on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.

Psaki said secondary sanctions and the targeting of additional financial firms are among a range of potential sanctions actions remaining that could be aimed at Russia.

HIT THE BRAKES… 

The United States on Wednesday stopped short of promising to launch its own inquiry to determine whether genocide was committed by Russia in Ukraine but said it will support international efforts to hold Russia accountable.

Joe Biden said for the first time on Tuesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amounts to genocide, a significant escalation of his rhetoric.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Wednesday declined to say whether Biden’s comments reflected the overall position of the U.S. government, but said the president “was speaking to the impression he had garnered from watching the horrific footage that we’ve all seen” from Ukraine.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration would further assess whether to launch its own formal review.

Price said the United States supported international lawyers trying to determine whether a legal threshold was met, but did not say whether the United States would launch its own inquiry.

“What we are doing is the most effective means of achieving that ultimate goal of accountability,” Price said.

Such a State Department determination normally follows a meticulous internal process, but the final decision is up to the secretary of state, who weighs whether it advances American interests, officials said.

Genocide, considered the most serious international offense, was first used to describe the Nazi Holocaust. It was established in 1948 as a crime under international law in a United Nations convention.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Moscow calls its actions a “special operation” to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and capture what it views as dangerous nationalists, but Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it categorically disagreed with Biden’s description of Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide,” and accused Washington of hypocrisy.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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$2.4 billion in U.S. money and weapons have been sent to Ukraine in under two months… is written by Wolf Daily for wolfdaily.com

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